Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club

Tara Raceway, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

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Locals perform well in classic lead-up

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Local greyhounds Springvale Alyssa and Galactic Panther will line up in Wednesday’s Group 3 Howard Ashton Classic heats (515 metres) at Angle Park after turning in top performances at the city track on Thursday night.

The pair clashed in a grade six event, virtually going over the finish line together when running second and third behind long odds-on favourite and another classic contender in Abuzz who won by three lengths in 30.22 seconds.

Galactic Panther, owned at Moorak by Robert Chuck and trained by Steve Bartholomew of Worrolong, has drawn box seven in the first of four heats and has boom youngster Victa Louise – a winner of 13 of her past 14 starts – sitting on his outside.

Galactic Panther returns to Angle Park on Wednesday for a heat of the Group 3 Howard Ashton Classic.

Chuck will be chasing his second Ashton Classic, Galactic Viper successful in 2015 when trained for him by Dave Geall of Lara.

By Milldean Panther out of Galactic Rumball, Galactic Panther’s granddam is Elite Touch, a litter sister to Galactic Viper’s dam Magic Elite.

The Bungaloo Syndicate, which includes Liz Newberry and trainer John Little of Kongorong, has done well with Springvale Alysa since purchasing her from Adelaide last month – three wins at Tara Raceway and Warrnambool and Thursday night’s second.

She’s also drawn box seven on Wednesday, in the second heat, with box eight runner Tal Lee looking one of the toughest to beat after recently running Abuzz to three-quarters of a length.

By Dyna Double One out of Springvale Cool, Springvale Alysa’s great-granddam is Corrumbene Lass, a winner of eight races from 19 starts, all over the short course at Strathalbyn and up the straight at Kulpara. Interestingly, Corrumbene Lass is also the great-granddam of Victa Louise.

The classic, a paid-up event for SA-bred greyhounds whelped between January 2016 and June 2016, takes its name from Howard Ashton who, at 15 years of age, became honorary secretary of the Adelaide Greyhound Racing Club by default when the person holding that position didn’t turn up one Sunday afternoon for the Waterloo Corner race meeting.

In fact, he was never to be seen again after disappearing with the club funds, Ashton remaining in the job and becoming honorary secretary of the AGRC six years later when the club moved to Bolivar and raced behind the mechanical lure prior to the introduction of legalised wagering on greyhounds.

By December 1971, with the AGRC by then only a few months away from racing at Angle Park, Ashton had been appointed full-time secretary/manager, a position he held until 1996 when he became Racing Operations Manager prior to retirement in 2000.

Semi-finals of the Howard Ashton Classic will be run on Thursday, May 24 with the $37,500 final on Thursday, May 31.

Enjoying a grog and a grumble

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Sam McPhail always reckoned people involved in the greyhound game liked nothing better than a grog and a grumble.

In fact, this is where the name for the Grog and Grumble Cup came from, McPhail donating a perpetual trophy for an annual drag lure coursing stake out at Mil Lel.

Allen Williams with the Grog and Grumble perpetual trophy and the cup won by Premier Jatz in 1998.

He believed after listening to all the hard luck stories over a beer at the end of a day’s coursing that an annual event should be run for all the “unlucky losers” at Mil Lel.

Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club life member Allen Williams, himself a winner of the cup, remembers the Grog and Grumble Cup well and reckons McPhail was a man ahead of his time.

“Sam, who had raced a pretty handy dog called Carpe Diem in the early days, lived out Carpenter Rocks way and through his involvement with Col Sims spent plenty of time at the coursing taking in all the hard luck stories.

“I reckon he was ahead of his time because his suggestion of putting on a stake for the ‘lesser lights’ wasn’t much different from today’s time-graded races on the track.

“So, putting it politely, what we had here was a coursing stake for greyhounds with limited ability but good chasing qualities that had competed at Mil Lel but failed to trouble the cashier during the season.

“And like the time-graded races, they came from far and wide to tackle the Grog and Grumble Cup which, to the winning connections, always seemed like they’d won coursing’s biggest prize – the Waterloo Cup.

“I’ve still got the cup Premier Jatz won in 1998. To be honest, he wasn’t worth a Jatz cracker but at the time it was a tremendous thrill to win the Grog and Grumble Cup which, by the way, required a wheelbarrow to carry it home, such was its weight.”

Other winners proudly displayed on the McPhail-donated cup are Always Showtime (Allen Peckham), Tornado Thomas (Col Sims), Star Spell (Bob Thomson), Suntan Boy (Arnie Damhuis), Bourne A Shiraz (David Peckham), Seaview Sandy (Peter Jones), Tiarni’s Golden (Col Sims) and Emmanition (Dean Fennell).

The Grog and Grumble Cup, kindly donated by Dean Fennell, will soon be on show at Tara Raceway in the memorabilia display.

Memorabilia continues to accumulate with one of the latest pieces being a Naracoorte Greyhound Speed Coursing Club program for its inaugural picnic meeting run at the Naracoorte racecourse on Sunday, October 16, 1977.

Trainers came from far and wide for the meeting, including Portland, Penola, Mount Gambier, Port MacDonnell, Lucindale, Edenhope, Horsham, Serviceton, Calgoa, Tarpeena, Nangwarry, Goroke, Coleraine, Kaniva, Millicent, Beachport, Nhill, Strathdownie and, believe it or not, Whyalla.

There were a couple of familiar names listed in the program – Richard Clayfield had Redbank Royal, a son of Corcoran x Tarpeena Star, engaged in the Amoco Speed Stake No. 3 while Lord Dudley, trained by Ralph Patzel, contested the Lions Club Cup Overflow.

We’ll have to check with them to see what their recollections of Redbank Royal and Lord Dudley are although we can tell you that the latter was by a dog called Missight who won the 1973 Mount Gambier Coursing Derby for Patzel.

The inaugural picnic meeting was held two years prior to mechanical hare racing commencing at Glenburnie although during the seven years it took the South East Greyhound Racing Club to run its first meeting there had been talk that Naracoorte would be the headquarters of greyhound racing in the south east.

Naracoorte these days has no racing greyhounds in the area, a far cry from back in the days when the speed coursing club was operational and people such as Jim O’Brien and Noel Allchurch were at the helm.

Just how long the Naracoorte Greyhound Speed Coursing Club conducted drag lure coursing meetings at the racecourse is not clear, however the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club, as it continues to piece together the history of greyhound racing and coursing in the south east, would certainly be keen to hear from anyone with further information on speed coursing in Naracoorte.

And a couple of years earlier, on Sunday, October 5, the Edenhope and District Coursing Club ran inaugural exhibition trials at the Edenhope racecourse.

Main stake of the day was the Edenhope Cup, the final of which was won by No Moko who defeated Cryer’s Hope, trained at Apsley by Tom Cryer.

Yes, the Cryer dogs were also making their presence felt more than 40 years ago!

Racing to resume at Tara Raceway

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

After a 2½-week break while a major track upgrade was undertaken, greyhound racing will resume at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon.

A trial session was conducted on Tuesday morning with track work supervisor Tim Manterfield reporting that the trials had gone off smoothly and participants had been more than happy with the track.

Highlighting Sunday’s 10-race program will be two heats of the Trackside Meats Feature Grade Five (512 metres), the top four in each heat advancing to Sunday week’s final.

The consistent Goldie’s Run, now being trained at Glencoe by Dean Fennell, looks one of the toughest to beat in the first heat while Nicole Stanley’s Big Lebowski appears well placed in heat two after a win at Sandown Park last Sunday.

A current dearth of fast-class sprinters at Tara Raceway has seen Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield’s Solitary Lad graded into the Produce Store Mixed Stake (600 m) for his first attempt at the middle-distance.

A recent winner of two races at Horsham prior to finishing unplaced in last week’s Stan Lake Memorial at Warrnambool behind Raw Ability, the brindle dog is one of Tara Raceway’s better 512 metre performers.

However, with Mount Gambier Cup winner Xtreme Caution currently back in Wagga with owner Matt Morris, track record holder Lektra Stomp recently sold to Adelaide and Cup Consolation winner Hutch sidelined with injury, Solitary Lad has struggled to find a race over 512 metres.

Meanwhile, local greyhounds Springvale Alysa and Galactic Panther, trained by John Little and Steve Bartholomew, will clash in a grade six 515 metre event at Angle Park tomorrow night.

Springvale Alysa, a winner of her past three starts, and Galactic Panther, third in this year’s Mount Gambier Cup, look likely to face stiff opposition from the beautifully bred Abuzz (Fernando Bale x Hope’s Up), a winner of nine races from 16 starts.

Stanley’s big day out at Sandown

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Portland greyhound trainer Nicole Stanley enjoyed a big day out on Sunday when Big Lebowski and Bereluke were both successful in 515 metre events at Sandown Park.

For Big Lebowski it was a case of breaking a long run of outs as he took the lead going out of the first turn before holding on in a four-way go to win by a narrow margin in 30.15 seconds.

Big Lebowski (No. 3) defeats Alexgal (9), Another Shiner (1) and Tahlia’s Diamond (4) in a keen tussle at Sandown Park last Sunday.

By Spring Gun out of Ginsue Too – a winner of a couple of races at Tara Raceway when trained by David Jones and Bernie Rogers – Big Lebowski’s last win had been back in September last year at Tara Raceway.

Later in the day, Bereluke led all the way in a 200+ ranking grade five heat and will now contest the $6260-to-the-winner final this Sunday.

A winner at Tara Raceway on ANZAC Day, Bereluke has now won two straight for Stanley and owner Michael Groves, the pair previously combining to win two races in early 2017 at the local track with McRay.

In Stanley’s kennels since mid-April, the March 2016 black bitch is by Barcia Bale out of Flying Cheryl, who raced on only six occasions for three wins over 515 metres at Angle Park in 2014, her best time being 29.75 seconds.

Eddie Holland in his playing days at Woodville.

Flying Cheryl was trained at Two Wells by Eddie Holland, who had played for Woodville in the SANFL between 1968-1977, accumulating 137 games as well as representing SA in a state game against WA.

On Monday night, local stayers Cryer’s Plugger and Bekim Lucy’s ran the quinella for Compton trainer Tracie Price in a mixed stake over 600 metres at Angle Park.

Raced by Margaret Cryer of Apsley, Cryer’s Plugger bounced back after three unplaced Angle Park runs, winning his first race outside of Mount Gambier when railing through in the home straight to hold off Michael Robinson and Willie Vossen’s fast-finishing Bekim Lucy’s in 35.66 seconds.

Price originally took over the training of Cryer’s Plugger from Tom Cryer while Tara Raceway was in recess, however in the short term, at least, the son of Spring Gun x Cryer’s Midget is likely to remain at Compton and will return to Angle Park on Monday night.

And last night, Stanley was back among the winners again when Archaeology – successful at Tara Raceway last month – led all the way to register a strong win at Horsham over 485 metres.

Extra race meetings for Tara Raceway

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Greyhound Racing SA has released three extra racing dates in May and June for the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club.

Following a track upgrade, racing will resume at Tara Raceway on Sunday, May 13 with extra meetings being programmed for Thursday, May 24, Thursday, June 7 and Thursday, June 21.

With the temporary closure of the Warrnambool Greyhound Racing Club for refurbishments from May through to August it is believed that the extra meetings in Mount Gambier will assist participation in the region.

Springvale Alysa made it three wins in a row when successful at Warrnambool last night.

GRSA has released only three extra dates in the first instance in order to gauge support, however it is the intent to also add additional race meetings in July and August while the Warrnambool works are being undertaken.

The Thursday fixtures will be non penalty time-graded meetings with races run over all distances. However, the format will differ from that of Friday time-graded meetings with maidens, 1-3 wins and 4+ wins making up the 10-race programmes.

And while the Friday time-graded meeting format remains unchanged, the Sunday main fixture which follows will also include a 5+ wins time-graded event over 400 metres and one over 512 metres.

Meanwhile, Warrnambool’s final meeting prior to its temporary closure was run last night, Kongorong trainer John Little winning his first race outside of SA with Springvale Alysa in a bitches-only 390 metre event.

Raced by Little in partnership with Liz Newberry and Kevin Mullan, Springvale Alysa has now won at her past three starts, previously successful in a 512 metre maiden and grade six at Tara Raceway last month.

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